I woke up what-should-be-this-morning (actually the middle of the night, LA’s three hours behind for some stupid reason) to feel something gently nuzzling up against my leg.

At first I thought my cousin was being fresh, but looking down there’s my computer, it’s cord between its legs, little apple nose softly glowing.

I guess that’s the way computers say they’re sorry. We spooned until breakfast, and all was forgiven.

How can I stay mad at that? Anyway, it knows what it did. And my little electrocompanion had better have learned it’s lesson, or next time I’m making laptop sushi.

Got the Kings in town today, or more accurately, a shell of the former Kings. Remember Webber, Vlade, Peja, Bibby and Brad Miller when they were competent? They got close a couple times, but the Maloofs never got their ring (but they DID get syphillis from Tara Reid…so it wasn’t all a waste.)

The Kings have been in a semi-state of purgatory over the past few seasons: are they rebuilding or are they attempting to contend? Right now, neither is working. Though they’ve beat Orlando and Dallas in the last week, forgive me if I don’t shiver in my classic high tops.

With major injuries stealing Kevin “Kid n’ Play” Martin, Mike “4-19 Bibby, and Ron “No Nickname Needed” Artest, Reggie Theus and company have never had a chance to see their system at work, in all it futile glory. Instead, they’ve just been sucking. Yeah, now that everyone’s close to being healthy there’s the requisite “we’re only six games under .500, we weathered the storm!” mentality coming out of California’s answer to Burlington, but I don’t care if Theus hops into a time machine (he should bring Bibby, ‘Reef, and Miller along for the ride), this roster ain’t going nowhere.

- They’ve got a defacto point guard who’s been treated like a depression-era orphan, traded from the Spurs for sunflower seeds and gunpowder, before being waived immediately by the Timberwolves *. When Bibby gets healthy, they upgrade to a frustrated point guard who only shoots when he has the ball in his hands. Wowee!

*How bad does it feel to be waived by the worst team in the league? Try explaining that to your friends back home!

- Two swingmen in Salmons and Garcia who would be practice pylons if not for all the owwies. Their semi-success in the wake of Injurypalooza should secure them Kapono-like numbers on their next contract. Gotta love the NBA.

- A PF trifecta that brings new meaning to the term “lesser of three evils”. If there were a gun to my head (and we’ll get to Artest in a minute), I don’t know who I’d rather play: Mikki Moore, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, or Kenny Thomas.

- Ron Artest. The True Warrier. Ol’ Testy. He’s Rodman, Tyson, the Cookie Monster, and The Insane Clown Posse all rolled into one. Truthfully, he and KMart are the ONLY reason this team isn’t playing Magic Cards in the corner with the Wolves while the NBA goes about its business. But still, totally crazy.

Did I mention he’s crazy?

- And let’s not forget they’re lead by a coach that spent a good chunk of the 1990′s with the Deering Tornadoes, a high school team who’s best player was a hot blonde chick. Whenever she shot, they showed her release and then cut to the ball going through the hoop. Hey, now we know how Joey Graham got drafted!

Sac’s woeful 4-12 road record, combined with their lack of chemistry and all around suckiness, makes them the perfect team for us to reassert our home court dominance (MIA since last season). Even though they’ve been on a bit of a hot streak since the return of Reggie Miller Incarnate*, I remain convinced that if we take care of our three Keys to Success™, we can close this one down.

* I love these cheesy Bollywood intros people throw on their fan mixes.

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

Protect the Perimeter: Sure, the Kings like to jack the three, but more importantly, they like to move the rock. They’re fifth in the league in team assists, which means they have no problems making the extra pass (and when they do, they knock it down)

Box Out: Sacramento’s not exactly skying for boards themselves at 19th in the league, but our hometown Raptors are an embarassing 29/30, second last only to Portland, who doesn’t rebound because they never miss a shot.

Get to the Line: Sacramento doesn’t shoot a ton of freebies either, so if we have one of those “aggressive” games where someone other than Bosh goes to the stripe, we should be able to keep pace even if our jumpers aren’t falling.

Me and the rest of the Raptor universe must sound like a broken record damaged iPod, but it bears repeating only because we can’t seem to fathom their importance for more than six minute stretches at a time. Whichever of the thousand incarnations of a rotation Sam decides to bring tonight, we have to keep one eye trained on Martin at all times, their only one true ‘scorer’ (if Bibby’s not playing).

This is one of those games that you don’t get credit if you win (because you should), but you get shit on if you lose. The Kings don’t put the “mental” into “mentally strong”. If we come out aggressive on BOTH ENDS, they will lay down (unlike the Knicks, who (good or bad) are too dumb to know they were being trounced), and we WILL WIN.

Girl Talk: Kevin Martin

Yes. He has a girlfriend. She’s like white mexican or something. I saw them at the state fair and at a restaurant.

Not much to write about with this bunch of boyscouts (though Quincy Douby makes a crackhead look together), but I did think it was funny that KMart brought his Mexican white girl to the state fair.

(It’s worth noting that Brad Miller’s girlfriend page is empty.)